In the world of filmmaking, it all starts with the passion of the filmmaker. And for over half a century, the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has been the platform that showcases this very passion to audiences across the country. From its modest beginnings in 1972, where a mere 5000 tickets were sold, the festival has evolved into a cinematic extravaganza, selling a staggering 80,000 tickets so far this year. Spanning across 5 Wellington cinemas, the NZIFF boasts a remarkable lineup of 120 captivating films, each crafted by talented directors from around the globe.
The NZIFF was driven as a response to the scarcity of exceptional films reaching New Zealand shores. Recognizing the wealth of outstanding productions worldwide, Lindsay Shelton was determined to bring these cinematic gems to the eager audiences of New Zealand. Now, as it celebrates its 53rd anniversary, the NZIFF continues to showcase the unwavering appetite of kiwi audiences for quality films.
Among the festival’s highlights are award-winning films from esteemed events like the Cannes Film Festival. Notably, “Anatomy of a Fall,” directed by Justine Triet, claimed the prestigious Palme d’Or, the highest accolade awarded at Cannes.
The journey to success, however, was not without its challenges. In its early days, filmmaking in New Zealand was hindered by high production costs and limited international exposure. Consequently, film distribution within the country remained subpar. The NZIFF became a beacon of hope for aspiring directors, providing a platform for talents such as Sir Peter Jackson to showcase their artistic visions and foster the growth of NZ’s film industry.
In this exclusive video interview with Update Wellington, Lindsay Shelton, the visionary behind the New Zealand International Film Festival, reflects on the past 53 years of bringing remarkable films to audiences. Shelton, a true Wellington gentleman and a multifaceted talent as a leader, writer, editor, and author, has been instrumental in elevating Wellington’s film scene.
For more information on the Film Festival, screening schedules, and ticket purchase, click here.